Hello To All Visitors,
I just became a member on BYC in October 2010 and below is my short introduction and coop project.
My folks and I recently got together to combine our resources to get a new manufactured home on 1.89 acres. Growing up my folks had chickens and my dad's parents ran a chicken farm when he was younger. Like the idea of having space for gardening and decided to get some chickens for eggs, meat, and for raising for sale down the road. Right now I am trying things out as a new hobbist.
I bought up every magazine I could find on chickens and have being buying books on chickens for research. I decided to try the Wyandottes simple because I thought their side profile looked like a heart which was really cute, not to mention fluffy n cute. They really appealed to me; so I started reading up and looking around for some. Ofcourse by the time I was ready to make the plunge it turned into fall and most Hatcheries had slime pickings left. I did manage to decide on trying out the Blue Wyandottes from Privett. Ordered 25, received 27, and the first 3 days lost 13 due to stress. I tried everything to keep them going and was sad to loose them. However, the 14 survivors are doing very well and are growing fast. Below are pictures showing 3 chicks when they arrived and a picture of our Brooder Hutch.
The brooder Hutch, a bit covered up
We have been discussing coop options and I have looked on line for what was available. The prices on the pre-fab coops the size I wanted where just too pricey; so, my Dad who is a carpenter said he could build a bigger coop for those prices. Well during our coop discussions the darling chicks were growing super fast. They are 5 weeks old now and getting awefully big for the Brooder Hutch. So we are now moving to get the coop project completed. The plan is to build an open style coop that will be 12' x 16' with a storage room inside it that will be 4' x 6'.
November 18, 2010 Dad has begun putting the poles in. As you can see this spot behind his workshop is low. The poles are 2 ft in the ground and we (Dad) will be building a frame around the bottom that will be filled in with sand to build a foundation up to 16" which is up with the height of the shop floor (metal building on right). There are some recyclable materials around our yard that we will use; however, we still had to buy a lot of the lumber which is treated for outdoor weather. The building on the left is an old storage shed that is rotten and no good for recycling. It is full of forgotten stuff and gardening stuff.
November 19, 2010 more progress by Dad. He framed around the top and began the predator proof skirt which is a 2' wide vinyl covered chicken wire. The predator skirt is being burried in sand. As you can see on the picture below on the right he wrapped the skirt under the boards and nailed them. The back is showing the frame that is going up for the foundation to hold the sand in.
Yeah it has been awhile to update as our weather has not been cooperating for us. (added a picture of the chicks above: Alice, Saphire, and Rubert at 5 weeks. These 3 love to hop up on my shoulders and be petted. Gotta include the chicks on the chickie page )
November 25, 2010: The rain stopped and the sun came out. Today is on the cool side but Dad was able to do some work on the coop this afternoon. He finished the box for 3 sides of the coop and added some framing in to support the outer walls and wire when it goes up. I helped out in bringing in some sand by wheel barrow. Boy that is hard work (especially as the sand is wet). We still got a ways to go as the sand needs to be filled in. Below are a couple of update pics.
Well the coop is moving much slower than anticipated as Dad finally got more work lined up. (This is actually a good thing). The first weekend of December I spent painting the roof boards yellow and part of the coop yellow. The picture below shows the yellow that I picked. The gang is growing so fast now so we really need to try and finish hopefully this month.
OH and I added the newest members to our chicken family. They recently hatched over the weekend. These are our adorable Silkie babies from left Rita, Shrek, and Lola. These guys will mainly be pets so they will probably get super spoiled.
December 11th I spent running from the bator, checking on the group in the outdoor playpen which is not predator proof accept for being owl n hawk proof, and finish painting the part of the coop that was already built. Dad finished getting in most of the sand and closed the front lower section up. Sunday he added some more frame boards and the framing for the door. (people door). Which means I have more to paint.
I am a bit concerned that my larger Wyandottes maybe a bit too rough for our Silkies. Shrek is my mom's as she called his name. Rita and Lola are mine. I have been searching Craigslist to keep eye out for special deals for used playhouse that could be turned into a mini coop tractor and found this:
I think the Silkie Trio will love it. Well they will get it if the bigger chicks decide not to let them be apart of the flock. If they are accepted then this will become the love boat for breeding. So it is up to all the chickens on whether we will have Silkie pirates or Lovers in their Love Boat.
Dad thinks we should find a used rowboat and make it look like an old fishing trolly. Sounds really cool so now I need to keep an eye out for used rowboat that I can get either free or very cheap.
The coop is slowly getting there. It is now completely boxed and has the door frame on it. We still need to add more sand in the base and ofcourse the rest of it. Alot has been happening that has caused the coop to slow down but we are pushing to hopefully have it finished this month. The Wyandottes are really cramped in the brooder hutch as they have really gotten big and they are only 9 weeks old. As you can see I painted most of it now, accept for what has recently been added and the base area.
Feeling bad for the Spunky Gang I got Dad to help me bring home a 10'W x 10'L x 6'H dog kennel to use to rig up a temporary play pen for them. We managed to wheel the very heavy brooder hutch to the spot and put the kennel together around it. Dad built a ramp for the chickies to go up n down with and we put a semi-rusted 12' chain link panel on top to ward off flying predators. Also used netting on the other opening at the top. The chickies are getting comfortable in their new space and have been enjoying the sunshine and grass.
As you can see we wrapped the sides and back with plastic also part of the front. The picture above on the right is Big Boy not sure what he was saying but I woke them while taking pictures. They were snoozing in the sunshine.
01-04-2011: Well as you can see we did not get our main coop finished in December. However, Dad had some time this week to work on it so progress has been made. The coop is finally taking on shape. He added some plywood around the door the solid part where the next boxes will eventually go and the half wall on the north side. He also added the roof framing and began putting the roof on.
We have 2 clear panels on the roof to add light into the coop. The rest of the panels are metal.
The gang will not know how to behave as they are about to have more room to play in. The only down side is the floor is sand and not grass. They have been enjoying munching on the grass in their temporary play pen. We have been moving the temporary pen every 3 to 4 days so that they have a fresh spot. Need to get them in their final house so that the silkies can have the brooder hutch. The poor Silkies are growing out of the tiny brooder in the house and need the big space in the big hutch.
I am so happy it is coming along nicely even though it is taking awhile. I can't wait to finish painting it and help in getting the water & food hung. (the hanging waterer will be temporary as we plan on adding an automatic watering system down the road) Then the roosts and nest boxes done. Also want to add decorations here n there to add personality to the new coop like I have seen others on BYC do.
Well another month has almost gone by. This weekend we finished putting the wire on. Hardie cloth wire on the top and bottom sections. Fencing wire was put over the hardie wire on the bottom section to keep larger predators like dogs out. Today the water pipe was put in place for when we get the automatic water installed. Hardy plank that my dad had sitting for about 15 years was dug out and used. The metal door in its frame was also installed. We only got the hardy plank on the front today as we are pushing to atleast get the coop to where we can use it.
Tommorrow on my way home from work I will pick up the door knob with a lock for the door so we can close the door. More sand needs to be added along with the feeding stations and roosts. Also, time for me to get out the paint again.
We decided that the Silkies will go into a temporary pen inside the coop so that the Spunky Gang can get used to them. They are currently housed in a smaller hutch in the shop. The new chicks that will be hatching this week will get the big brooder hutch.
02-13-2011: Everyone has been moved in for a week and the spunky gang has settled in nicely in their new digs. The Silkies small hutch was originally put inside their temp pen; however, once out side they would not go up the ramp to get back in. So I replaced the small hutch with a big round covered catbox filled with pine shavings for them. The Silkies really been enjoying their part of extra space. The girls check them out from time to time but mostly ignore them.
A temporary perch was added last weekend for the spunky gang to roost on. This weekend Dad made a 4 box nest box from looking at a picture in the McMurray catalog. The nest boxes look very nice. Saphire has been inspecting them. She even went in one to re-arrange the nest and give everything a good looking over. I think she has picked out her box ahead of time as all the girls should hopefully start laying sometime in March. The girls combs and wattles are getting pinker. Dad took a nice size tree limb and made a new fun perch in the coop for everyone. The coop has been wrapped in plastic due to the cold temps we have been getting. Below are some pictures taken of the inside.
See the shiny wall? Well Dad did not think about the chickies wanting to shred the shiny right off of it when he installed the boards. Kind of an oops. The chickens added their own bit of art on the shiny wall. Sorry for all the poop in the picture, you would never know that I just cleaned it yesterday.
The kids (newly hatched chicks) turned a week old and since the Silkies are not using their wee hutch the kids now have it. We are still planning to move the huge Brooder Hutch to a spot that is close enough to run electric too so the kids can have more room. The dog kennel has been taken apart and will be made into a temporary run to the main coop. A pop door still needs to be installed. The main coop is still being tweaked and there are bound to be more changes as we go till we get it where we want it.
The 15 year old hardy plank is pooping out on us. One of the planks snapped and just popped off when dad was putting the plastic up. I think it was laying in the pile too long and has become too fragile. We may need to come up with a new siding material.